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Editorial: Requiring more work searches won't work

5:54 PM, May 20, 2013  |  Comments
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Nobody likes the fact that some of the unemployed - but no one knows how many - are willing to ride on their unemployment checks until they run out, without making much of an effort to find a job.

But what can be done about it?

Gov. Scott Walker has an idea, proposing in his budget plan that the jobless be required to make four work searches per week instead of the current two. The requirement would only come into play in certain instances, which haven't been determined. The Joint Finance Committee, which is crafting the budget bill, approved the proposal last week.

The proposal is intended to have a fiscal impact, too - by reducing the money the state pays for unemployment benefits and reducing the debt it owes the federal government, which has helped states cover unemployment costs.

But, as Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, of the Joint Finance Committee, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The goal of this, let me be real clear, is not to kick people off unemployment insurance with no job."

Actually, because of the fiscal goal, it is. Proponents of this plan can't have it both ways.

According to the rules, a job search consists of applying for a job, taking a civil service exam, responding to a job announcement or registering with a union or employment agency. Unemployed people who are motivated to find a job are already doing those things - and more. Unemployed people who aren't motivated to find a job and are already gaming the system to cover the two job searches can do the same to cover four job searches without much more effort.

In other words, this won't work.

All it will really do is create more bureaucracy for the state Department of Workforce Development to attend to. And we certainly don't need more bureaucracy.

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